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Icon Health & Fitness, Inc v. Isaac Calderon

March 27, 2013

ICON HEALTH & FITNESS, INC.,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ISAAC CALDERON, MAHONRY J. SANCHEZ, VENTO NORTH AMERICA, LLC, AND LIME PRO EQUIPMENT USA, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Gonzalo P. Curiel United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE [ECF No. 14.]

INTRODUCTION

Presently before the Court is a Motion to Transfer Venue filed by Defendants Isaac Calderon, Mahonry J. Sanchez, Vento North America, LLC, and Lime Pro Equipment USA ("Defendants"). (ECF No. 14.) Plaintiff Icon Health & Fitness ("Plaintiff") opposed the motion, (ECF No. 19), and Defendants replied, (ECF No. 24). The motion is submitted on the papers without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1(d)(1). For the reasons stated herein, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion to Transfer Venue.

BACKGROUND

In July 2008, Plaintiff, a company with its principle place of business in Utah, sued Defendants, residents of California, in the United States District Court for the District of Utah claiming, inter alia, trademark and trade dress infringement for Plaintiff's "ONE-TOUCH" trademark. (ECF No. 1 at ¶¶ 1, 55.) In October, 2008, the case settled and the District Court of Utah signed a stipulated permanent injunction related to the case. (ECF No. 1 at ¶ 57.) On May 16, 2012, Plaintiff filed an action against Defendants in Utah for breach of the 2008 stipulated injunction and settlement agreement, patent infringement, violation of the Utah Deceptive Trade Law, and trademark infringement regarding the "iFit" and "iFit.com" trademarks. (ECF No. 14-1 at 3: 2-5, 18-22.) On August 16, 2012, Plaintiff filed the instant case alleging Defendants have "continued distributing, selling, offer for sale, importing, or otherwise using in commerce products that incorporate the ONE-TOUCH Trademark." (ECF No. 1 at ¶ 58.) Plaintiff also claims Defendants have committed trademark and unfair competition violations by their use of the "NORDICTRAIN" mark, which is allegedly confusingly similar to Plaintiff's "NORDICTRACK" mark. (ECF No. 1 at ¶ 35.) Defendants have moved to transfer this case to the District of Utah. (ECF No. 14.)

I. Legal Standard

28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) provides that "[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, the district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Thus, in ruling on a motion to transfer to a jurisdiction where the case might have been brought, the Court evaluates three elements: (1) convenience of the parties; (2) convenience of the witnesses; and (3) interests of justice. Safarian v. Maserati N. Am., Inc., 559 F. Supp. 2d 1068, 1071 (C.D. Cal. 2008). "[A] motion to transfer venue for convenience pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) does not concern the issue 'whether and where' an action may be properly litigated. It relates solely to the question where, among two or more proper forums, the matter should be litigated to best serve the interests of judicial economy and convenience to the parties." Injen Tech. Co. v. Advanced Engine Mgmt., 270 F. Supp. 2d 1189, 1193 (S.D. Cal. 2003) (citations omitted). According to the Ninth Circuit, in exercising discretion, the court may consider factors such as:

(1) the location where the relevant agreements were negotiated and executed, (2) the state that is most familiar with governing law, (3) the plaintiff's choice of forum, (4) the respective parties' contacts with the forum, (5) the contacts relating to the plaintiff's cause of action in the chosen forum, (6) the differences in the costs of litigation in the two forums, (7) the availability of compulsory process to compel attendance of unwilling non-party witnesses, and (8) the ease of access to sources of proof.

Jones v. GNC Franchising, Inc., 211 F.3d 495, 498-99 (9th Cir. 2000). In arguing for transfer of venue, "[t]he defendant must make a strong showing of inconvenience to warrant upsetting the plaintiff's choice of forum." Decker Coal Co. v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 805 F.2d 834, 843 (9th Cir. 1986).

II. Analysis

Defendants seek a transfer of venue to the District of Utah. In opposition, Plaintiff does not argue that the case could not have been brought in the District of Utah; therefore, the relevant inquiry is whether this Court should transfer this action for the convenience of the parties and witnesses, and whether transfer is in the best interests of justice. See 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).

A. Convenience of the Parties

Defendants allege the District of Utah is a more convenient location for both Defendants and Plaintiff because they are involved in actions currently pending in that district, (ECF No. 14-1 at 4: 13-19), and the causes of action, issues, and products substantially overlap, (ECF No. 14-1 at 6: 1-7). Plaintiff claims, to the contrary, that it is not inconvenienced by litigating in California. (ECF No. 19 at 3: 1-3.) Plaintiff states it specifically chose this district because Defendants reside, maintain their principle place of business, committed the alleged violations, and have witnesses in San Diego ...


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